Jul 25, 2016

Chef Next Door Season 2 Launch at Le Jardin

Being invited to dine and jam with Chef Jonas Ng and fellow bloggers and press people was at first a vague idea. No question about food, like who doesn't like free food? But a rockeoke party featuring rock songs of the 80s? I thought some people would be too shy and lazy to get up to their seats and actually sing. (That's why bloggers love to sit behind a laptop and write, isn't it?) Like who are confident enough to unleash their golden voice around 50 people?
Guess what? I think me, probably the youngest in the crowd, was apparently a KJ! HAHA!

I initially couldn't think of a rock party within a dainty place.The venue is nowhere else but at the chef's upscale restaurant, Le Jardin. If you haven't been here, you should know that it's a French-garden themed restaurant at the Penthouse level of W Fifth Building, overlooking the city. That's why Le Jardin has been a great events place for launches (it was my first time during KC's Closet launch), debuts and special occasions, because they are in a unique location with an elegant ambiance. 

Well, you see they set up a stage for a band and there are stations of food brands that Chef Jonas approves and will be featured in his show. 

Chef Next Door Season 2 will be WITTIER, FUNNIER...and SEXIER
I think they forgot to mention that he it will be CHARMING though... *clears throat*
Clearly, it's not hard not to fall in love....with the show. 

Anyway, did I tell you about the food? Chef Jonas is definitely a guy you can talk to about different things and sure it is, his preference on food brands is local and exceptional! Let me show you the array of food! 

Everyone took home bags of WIT'S Sweets and Savouries Pinoy Granola and I am telling you it is perfect with a bowl of milk or yogurt for breakfast! It also has local ingredients like roasted cocoa and green mangoes.

Karen's Kitchen is the cake station with flavors you kinda don't expect.

Apart from the cheesecakes and carrot cakes, they have Pink Guava and Zucchini cake! That violet one is called "Nifty Shades of Ube"

Kudos to Baguio Craft Brewery for their craft beers with coffee notes and another with caramel. Their beers are light (7.5% and 6.3% a.b.v. if I am not mistaken) so no one got extremely drunk, everyone is chill, but their booze made people dance and have fun! 

Who doesn't want a tub full of ice cream? Fog City's ice cream also have a variety of flavors that gives us a break from the usual plain chocolates and vanillas. Look at that Ensaymada flavored ice cream!

I got the Calamansi Pili which is refreshingly sour with pili nuts! My friend Shai got the Ferrero Rocher with Nutella Swirl which could give someone a sugar rush in just one scoop. 

What's a party without our favorite pork? It seems Chef Jonas is a meat-lover. He kept on mentioning bacon during interviews. 
Here's a plate of lechon from Leonardo's Lechon! You should also check them out in the show!

Everyone's enjoying the food and the view, and suddenly it's the all-around host Migz Anzures on mic! 
I say "all-around" because he is literally all around the area chatting with everyone, asking about the food, drinking with early drinkers. If he isn't holding a mic and telling everyone not to be shy and to try out the food, he would be easily mistaken as just a very friendly handsome guest. 

Where is your Mr. Congeniality sash, Migz? 

All eyes and ears now for the raffle! They were raffling SALADMASTER kitchen utensils and equipment. Chef Jonas shared that he's been using the brand ever since he was young cooking with his mom. 

To add to the fun, there was also a karaoke challenge to four bloggers who participated.
No persuasion needed because apparently this is what they came for apart from the food! Haha! 

After a few Backstreet Boys and Spice Girl songs, the people was indeed on their feet on what will happen next. Migz introduced the Chef Next Door -Chef Jonas Ng!

Known as the executive chef of Huat Pot Hot Pot in Greenhills and Le Jardin, he had 10 years of experience including rigorous training in the kitchen which he showcased in Season 1. Calling himself a Ninjedi (ninja + jedi), we'll see more of his #chefninjamoves and his personally approved products we saw earlier, in the Season 2 of Chef Next Door

Here with him are the brand owners/managers of Baguio Craft Brewery, Leonardo's Lechon and Karen's Kitchen!

Behind the chinito look and witty remarks, Chef Jonas really believes in fun at work. 
As an HRIM student, I took the chance of asking him his rules in the kitchen. 
He said that whenever there are problematic situations in the kitchen, he tells his staff to think that they are cooking for someone they love. "Always cook with love". And he believes that if an animal gave up its life just to give you food, make it the best. "Make it the best in a way that the animal in heaven would say "I am that steak!"."

A good-looking chef with a charming personality that could teach you cooking hacks and how to produce restaurant-quality food? 
That's not all.

Chef Jonas can sing. Like he really do.
What more can you ask for?
(^Well,most of the girls answered "a date!")

That's The Bloomfields over there! 

I suppose I already made a point in telling you that Chef Jonas Ng is definitely the guy to entertain you on  Lifestyle (Sky and Destiny Ch 52 )

Wednesdays at 9:30PM, 
Thursdays at 1:00AM,
 Saturdays 6:00PM,
 Sundays 10:00AM, 
Mondays at 3:30PM, 
Tuesdays at 12:00MN
Chef Next Door Season 2!

Chef Next Door is a joint production venture by The Group Entertainment and iSnap Creatives.

It was a fun and food-filled night! Best event ever so far! Thanks for inviting me!



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Jul 22, 2016

Say HELLO again to CHEF NEXT DOOR - Chef Jonas NG

The Chef will see you again.... in CHEF NEXT DOOR Season 2 !

A WITTIER and FUNNIER season of cooking hacks brought to you by Chef Jonas Ng, head chef and owner of Huat Pot Hotpot Restaurant in Greenhills and Le Jardin in BGC.
He shares the easiest and most practical ways to cook restaurant recipes, some tricks of the trade and chef hacks that he has learned over ten years of working inside a high-pressure, solution-oriented professional kitchen. 

The first season is more about himself and his personal ways in the kitchen. The new season will be featuring products that Chef Jonas approves while still doing his #chefninjamoves in coming up with creative kitchen solutions.

In each episode, he'll teach viewers how to come up with restaurant quality output from modern urban limitation. And just like in real-life kitchens, be prepared to see how Chef Jonas bounces back from realistic kitchen struggles like lack of time, space, and budget. 

Be prepared to fall in love with..... or maybe just "friend-zoned" in the Chef Next Door!

Want to know more about Chef Jonas? Follow their social media accounts facebook.com/chefnextdoorph and instagram.com/chefjonasng and stay tuned on this blog about their recently held press launch!

Brought to you by The Group Entertainment together with Lifestyle Network channel.

Catch the whole new season of Chef Next Door on Lifestyle (Sky cable Channel 52) every Wednesdays at 9:30m, Thursdays at 1:00AM, Saturdays at 6:00PM, Sundays at 10:00AM, Mondays at 3:30PM and Tuesdays at 12MN. 

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Jul 19, 2016

Review: PUZZLES Board Game Lounge BGC

It's been a long time since I actually made a full blog post about a restaurant or cafe. Whenever I go to different cafes around Maginhawa either for our thesis or just a place to stay or there is a newly opened one, the pictures and reviews just land on my Instagram so you could check out and follow me for updates! * (haha smooth) *

This time I was able to bring my SLR camera during my friendly date with Gelai at BGC and it was our first time to try PUZZLES Board Game Lounge located at The Fort Strip.

As I said earlier, I visited cafes, specifically themed cafes for our thesis last sem. One of those we have to analyze was a board game cafe around QC area. Nevertheless, I encountered a lot of board game cafe names during my research stage and PUZZLES is definitely one of the relatively new and  known board game cafes.

*Disclaimer!!* I liked board games when I was a kid but I was one of those who got immersed to the virtual games.I know very little about how board games survived then. But my interest went back when board game cafes started sprouting everywhere.I even did a research paper about board game cafes and a thesis about themed cafes. 

Going inside this board game lounge wasn't intimidating at all for someone who only knows how to play scrabble and chess. Even if we were welcomed by like 20 people playing Jenga on that long table. We came just an hour after their opening time, and probably those yuppies are there to have lunch and spend a good time. I like how loud they were because why not, it's a board game lounge and you are supposed to have fun with friends!

 The colorful chairs, the hanging shape lights, and the quote wall add bits of contrasts. While on the other side is the floor-to-wall board game shelf!

Also on this side, there are bean bags on the carpeted, elevated area so you can sit on the floor!

They serve finger foods, pasta, sandwiches, rice meal, drinks, and desserts. The average check is around Php300-Php400 for food ONLY, as they also have a Php100 PLAYING FEE,  plus service charge.

 As you can see, they also have a room upstairs, probably for large groups who really likes to have fun playing.

I ordered Shepherd's Pie (Php230) while Gelai ordered Baked Chicken Parmigiana (Php290)Oreo Afraid of the Dark (Php150) and Coke (Php50).

There was only one main server that day, the rest of the staff are in the counter, and I told you earlier that there were a large group of people so we waited for our food. Gelai scanned the board game shelf for games to play. Since it was just the two of us, it's hard to find a game good for 2 players.
On the table is the game cards and tokens of Splendor.

Gelai isn't anti-social in this picture, in fact, she's reading the game instructions of Splendor we downloaded online because the wasn't any game manual inside the box. We initially took Monopoly but some pieces are missing too and some pieces from other games are mixed in.

So we ended up taking these, and figured out that Cards Against Humanity is definitely not for two players.

So we played Timeline instead! It was like a history test where you have to guess the right order of the historical events by putting your face down card to the timeline and flipping it out to reveal the date. Every wrong position of card, you have put it in discard pile (it won't be included in the timeline) and you have to get one from the stack pile. The first player with no card left on-hand will be the winner!

Here's our food!

Baked Chicken Parmigiana
It was okay. Although she noticed that the chicken is a bit dry (probably because it was baked?). The pasta has the right flavors but I hope that they will add more sauce to complement with (dryness of) the chicken.

Shepherd's PieI got high expectations for this since I want flavorful foods.
But it was really disappointing in terms of flavor. It's bland. Like they forgot to put whatever flavorings you should put in here. I tasted just a mash of potato with bits of meat and veggies.

I asked for salt and pepper because I can't really take the taste of bland veggies (try to eat bland zucchini).
And behold, after I put salt and pepper, it finally had a taste!

OREO Afraid of the Dark
Deep fried battered oreos with vanilla ice cream!!!
This belongs to one of the"heaven sent comfort foods"!
Thankfully, the dessert is really yummy I forgot about the tastelessness of my Shepherd's Pie for a while.


AMBIANCE (Rating:4.5/5) : The feeling is fun and vibrant! It's not overly-decorated, comical place and I didn't feel the board game exclusivity. We had a good time sitting on the floor. I even removed my wedges so I can sit like we're in a play area. We are jokingly telling each other that "we were left by our parents in a day care center"! It felt so kiddie like but instead of toys, they have board games.

Every corner is instagram worthy, thanks to the large window pane on one side.

FOOD (Rating: 2.5/5) : The serving is good enough to satisfy lunch and to last in between playing rounds. I hope they could adjust their recipe because like what I said, for me the serving is too much to gobble in one go so I prefer to eat while playing, so the dish might get too dry. I don't know what happened to Shepherd's Pie but I hope they won't forget to season the dishes again!

SERVICE (Rating: 2/5): We think that the place was understaffed that day. I went to the counter twice to follow up our water and my salt and pepper. Not to mention the lack of assistance in finding a board game for us and teaching the mechanics.

I spent around Php400 (inclusive of my food, playing fee and service charge), and I think it's not really that worth it considering my bland food, inefficient service, and a Php100 playing fee for limited choices of board games (some are mixed up, lost its pieces, and not well-maintained too).

So what do we do when something like that happens? Just take a lot of picture and take advantage of the ambiance! Haha! Somehow I can prove to you that I really enjoyed our playing area.

Awesome shot by Gelai!

How about you? Have you tried PUZZLES in BGC before? Did you have same experience? Comment below! I want to hear from you!



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