8 Delicious Reasons To Go Back To Salta!

When we heard that Chef Gem Tee opened an Italian restaurant in UP Village, Quezon City, we immediately trooped to Mayaman Street to visit Salta! Italian Rotisserie Chicken Bar. Even though we didn’t have any idea about the food line-up because we haven’t even gotten a peek of their menu, it didn’t really matter. We wanted Salta! to surprise us.

The minute we got to Salta!, we immediately liked the simple exterior and the quaint interior. The black and white mural gave that playful vibe and the unfinished brick wall on the opposite side gave that hipster vibe. The place is well-lit and the big glass window helped in letting the light flow freely within the space.

After looking at the menu, we already know the dishes we’d like to try and the second we got our table, guess the first thing we got our hands on while waiting for the rest of our orders? YES. Their Red and White Sangria!

1. Sangria

We believe that every hour is a happy hour. That’s why we started to happily sip our sangria at 11 in the morning. Of course we got both because we are fair like that. Their Red Sangria is mixed with Limoncello liqueur, orange juice, and fruits while their White Sangria is mixed with the same Limoncello liqueur, calamansi juice, and fruits. For the more thirsty ones, Salta! offers a single order of one liter of Sangria. Since we love anything citrus, most especially lemons and limes, we naturally gravitated towards their White Sangria.

2. Italian Rotisserie Chicken

The first dish that arrived was the whole Italian Rotisserie Chicken. We decided to get 5 of their side dishes— Pesto Rice, Tuscan Slaw, Rotisserie Cheese Potato, Sicilian Vegetables, and Garlic Parmesan Focaccia Roll.

One of the things we look for in a roast chicken is its meat’s juiciness especially in the breast part. And we’re happy to report that Salta! delivered. The chicken was flavorful, tender, and moist. You can easily cut into it. There’s also an option to get half or a quarter but we opted to get a whole chicken to share.

3. Brick Oven Pork Chop

We have to admit that we are not huge fans of pork chops but Salta! made us think twice about seriously giving pork chops another chance. Our knife glided effortlessly when we cut the meat and the perfectly-cooked Brick Over Pork Chop simply glistened. It was juicy, moist, and packed with that smoky herbed flavor. We ate it with their side of Pesto Rice and Tuscan Slaw and it was beautiful.

4. Balsamic Bbq Beef Ribs

There is so much win with this one. Sweet, salty, and smoky— our kind of beef ribs. One thing we noticed in all the meat dishes we tried in Salta! is its tenderness. The ribs were cooked well and when drizzled with their homemade pesto garlic aioli, it becomes more amazing! To make it more delightful to eat, we paired their Balsamic Bbq Beef Ribs with their side dishes of Rotisserie Cheese Potato and Sicilian Vegetables.

5. 9oz Angus Ribeye

One look at the ribeye, we already know that we’re in for a treat! Meat flavored with herbs and garlic always has a special place in our hearts (and our tummies). There isn’t a lot to say about this other that it’s a gorgeous dish. We mashed the whole roasted garlic and smothered it on our side of Garlic Parmesan Focaccia Roll. So good.

6. CRABonara™ Fries

Ah, the famous CRABonara™ from Gem Tee’s first baby, Pappare Ristorante. She came up with her own spin of the well-known Carbonara pasta dish using crab claw meat and crab fat sauce topped with 63ºC egg and bacon bits. It became so popular that she decided to use the same ingredients for Salta! but this time to put on top of hand-cut fries, poutine style. And the result— nothing short of delicious.

7. Tuscan Cheese Burger

This is not your usual cheese burger. It consists of a juicy burger patty topped with lettuce, balsamic onions, Pappare pesto, and cheese sandwiched between a homemade herbed brioche bun. The play of savory, sweet, salty, and herby makes this Tuscan Cheese Burger a must-try. We got some Sweet Potato Fries to go with it.

8. Piadina Milano

There is something simple yet satisfying about meat and vegetables wrapped in Piadina or Piada which is basically a thin Italian flatbread. Do not be fooled by its size because their Piadina Milano is totally filling! It has shredded Italian Rotisserie Chicken, prosciutto, and lettuce drizzled with pesto aioli. We paired this with their Sangria. Well, who are we kidding? We paired everything we ordered with Sangria!

By the end of what seemed like hours, we were full, satisfied, and all smiles. The trip to Salta! was definitely worth braving the notorious Metro Manila traffic for. We would’ve wanted to try more dishes but we want to save some for our next visit. And we’re sure to order our top 3 favorites again— Balsamic Bbq Beef Ribs, Crabonara Fries, and Piadina Milano.

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Check out Salta! Italian Rotisserie Chicken Bar on Instagram and on Facebook.

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How We Celebrated Our 3rd Birthday at The Holiday Inn and Suites Makati

We take birthdays seriously. That’s why on our 3rd birthday, we decided to celebrate it at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Makati City. We only had one mission on our 2-night staycation— ‘Eat. Sleep. Repeat.’ And we think we achieved what we set out to do.

We started our 1st day with an amazing Chocolate Cherry Blossom Bonsai and a bottle of Chardonnay. They were a complete surprise because they came with The King Bed Corner Suite. We couldn’t get enough of the bonsai because everything was made in chocolate— from the bowl holding the tree to the soil to the trunk to the branches to the cherry blossoms. They were made of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. And paired with the chilled Chardonnay, we were undoubtedly welcomed to the good life.

The Corner Suite was perfectly spacious with a sitting area, lounge sofa, work desk, flat-screen television, mini-bar, and our favorite feature in the entire room: king-sized bed with its plush beddings and pillows. As for the bathroom, it comes with a bathtub and full selection of toiletries. Of course, the room has free internet which is always a must-have in staycations because how else can we conveniently Instagram Story our Holiday Inn and Suites Makati experience without a fast wifi?

After putting our bags down and jumping up and down the bed (note: we do this every time because life is short), we went to the Executive Lounge to enjoy their complimentary afternoon tea from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. All guests checked in their Executive Club Rooms and Corner Suites have free Club Access. However, for an additional fee, other guests can also have access to the lounge.

The afternoon was lovely and so was our tea time. The Executive Lounge has ample seating and relaxed atmosphere. Because of its exclusivity, the place wasn’t crowded. The selection of snacks were quite delightful too. They offered fruit tarts, cakes, sandwiches, cookies, coffee, and good selection of Dilmah teas. We’re so happy to see our ultimate favorite cake in the spread— Ube Cheesecake. We swear by this cake!

By the time we’re about to get done with tea time, one of the staff told us that they will open the lounge for a complimentary happy hour from 6:00pm to 8:00pm and asked us if we intend to stay. We looked at each other and all mouthed the words “happy hour” with silly grins on our faces. The answer was a no-brainer. Of course we will stay!

The items in the buffet area suddenly changed to hors d’oeuvres, cheese and cold cuts platters, fruit cups, fish cakes, grilled chicken skewers, maki sushi, salads, and pork tenders amongst others. The selection may not be as extensive as the buffet in Flavors, the hotel’s restaurant, but they were properly curated. Since it’s happy hour and we want to be happy, we got us some wines, cocktails, and shots of tequila. The food kept coming and the drinks kept pouring and we kept smiling. One thing that we noticed the moment we set foot in the Executive Lounge was the staff. They were attentive, courteous, and friendly. We have stayed in various hotels and we must say that the staff of Holiday Inn and Suites Makati is by far one of the most sincere group of people that we’ve encountered.

Happy hour ended and we happily sauntered to our Corner Suite. The king-sized bed looked so inviting especially with the soft duvet and pillows. Speaking of pillows, we’re quite particular about those. So we’re glad when we saw that the hotel provides 2 pillow choices— soft and firm. If you’re not a big fan of soft pillows like us, one call to the housekeeping department will solve the problem. They graciously sent us firm pillows to replace the soft ones.

Buffet breakfast in Flavors Restaurant comes with every stay but since we were on our lazy staycation mood, we opted for their In-Room Breakfast. They provided the room with a breakfast menu specific to in-room dining so we ordered from that list. We got us some Buttermilk Pancakes with Apples and Walnuts, Bacon and Eggs, Longganisa with Garlic Rice and Eggs, Ensaymada, fresh ripe mangoes, rolls, and coffee. The pancakes were a bit crispy on the outside which we prefer, the bacon strips were crispy too, the sunny side up eggs were perfectly cooked, and the longganisa was delicious. From the time our orders were taken, our food arrived in 20 minutes which was impressive. We liked the fact that they kept the dishes in the warmer so they were fresh and hot when they got to us.

Breakfast was lovely but the art of doing nothing was lovelier. We watched the news, watched Netflix on our laptop, and watched the world pass us by from our big corner windows. Then it was time to check out. Since we want to get the staycation experience at the Holiday Inn and Suites Makati, we thought of transferring to their King Leisure Room. It might be a smaller room but the amenities make up for it. The room comes with a sitting area, work desk with multimedia panel, bluetooth speaker, flat-screen television, mini-bar, and still our favorite furniture: the king-sized bed complete with the hotel’s firm and soft pillows. The bathroom might not have a bathtub but it has everything we need.

For the few times we left our room, we found ourselves in Glorietta Mall which is just literally beside the hotel. They even built a special entryway to the mall from just outside the hotel lobby which was very convenient. Since we were still on our Eat. Sleep. Repeat mission, we made sure to comply on our last day at the hotel. Remembering the good food experience we got from our In-Room Breakfast, we decided to try their In-Room Dining at 2 o’ clock in the morning. We woke up hungry and naturally, we called Room Service to take care of us. Holiday Inn and Suites Makati In-Room Dining operates 24/7. That means, they can feed you any time of the day. We decided to get a Club Sandwich, Pasta Bolognese, Thai Red Curry, Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls, Fried Vegetable Spring Rolls, Chocolate Cake With Ice Cream, coffee, and a glass of milk. We’re glad to report that our orders took 20 minutes to arrive and the food were served at the right temperatures.

We took our mission seriously that when breakfast time kicked in, we trooped to Flavors Restaurant to try their buffet breakfast as if we haven’t had our after-midnight snacks.

One thing that we can assure everyone when dining and staying at the Holiday Inn and Suite Makati is that the food is always lovely and delicious. Be it at the restaurant, at the Executive Lounge, or room service, their food doesn’t disappoint.

The rooms were spacious and the beds were comfortable. They can definitely make you want to stay in and sleep in.

One differentiating factor that we think the Holiday Inn and Suites Makati has over other hotels in its category, is their hardworking staff who happily gives impeccable service. We have never seen a group of people who are just glad to serve. We could clearly see that the hotel takes care of their employees very well because it shows how well their employees take care of their hotel guests.

Overall, our 2-night birthday staycation was definitely one to remember.

Here’s a short video of our Holiday Inn and Suites Makati experience. Hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it for you.

Video created by Ambishen Productions for Manila Eat Up.

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Check out Holiday Inn and Suites Makati on Instagram and on Facebook. Book your rooms on their Website too.

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All images appearing on this website, unless noted otherwise, are the exclusive property of Manila Eat Up. All images are copyrighted © Manila Eat Up.

7 Places in 2 Days— #BestOfTheCoastPH, Boracay Photo Diary Edition

When you’ve been to a place numerous times, our 6th visit to date, you’d like to think that you already know the place inside out— the restaurants, the hotels, the activities, and the beaches. But this is not always the case whenever we visit Boracay Island. Especially on this recent trip.

With our friends Pepe of @pepesamson, Ramil and Edgar of @pinasmuna, and Elei of @iameleimath, we trooped to Boracay Island at the start of summer to experience some of the best the island has to offer, thereby dubbing the trip #BestOfTheCoastPH. Since we know that we will only be in Boracay just for the weekend, our official airline partner, Cebu Pacific, flew us from Manila to Caticlan for faster travel. And for a more efficient travel, we used the Cebu Pacific Air app so we can book flights and do online check-ins from our smartphones. After an hour on the plane and a 5-minute speed boat ride, we’re already on the island.

The moment we arrived, we instantly felt the positive energy of the island. Seeing the blue-green waters with the summer sun casting a silver sheen on the soft waves was enough to put a huge grateful smile on our faces.

Now we’re ready to show you some of the 7 best places we went to for 2 wonderful days in Boracay Island.

1. COAST

Our home for the weekend. Ranked No. 1 in Trip Advisor, Coast, is currently the best hotel in Boracay! From the beachfront view, to the building design, to the amenities, to the accommodations, and to the restaurant, Coast definitely lives up to its rank. We were housed on the 2nd floor which gave us a good view of the swimming pool. Our room was lovely– with its tropical paradise decor and white clean sheets. Not only did we get welcome drinks when we entered the hotel lobby, we also got a welcome cheese and fruit plate with a bottle of red when we entered our room.

Admittedly, it was difficult to get out of bed the next day. It’s that choice to either stay in to enjoy the fluffy pillows, firm bed, and cold comfortable room or stay out to enjoy the fine sand, clear waters, and hot summer sunshine. Well, the struggle only lasted for a couple of minutes because after that, we found ourselves skipping and hopping towards the beach.

The service in Coast was impeccable. Everyone was friendly, accommodating, knowledgeable, and attentive while constantly wearing smiles on their faces. The buffet breakfast that came with the stay was delicious. Don’t worry, we’ll tell you more about our Coast experience on a separate story soon.

2. LOS INDIOS BRAVOS

Not wasting time, we headed over to Los Indios Bravos half an hour after dropping our bags off in Coast. Situated in Bulabog, the restaurant is just walking distance from the main highway. With its red leather couches and dark wooden benches, the place definitely has that Spanish pub feel that spells good beer, good food, and good people. Speaking of good beer, we love the fact that Los Indios Bravos serve local craft beers such as Joe’s Brew, Crazy Carabao, and Nipa Brew to name a few. Of course, we didn’t pass up the opportunity to try some beers to go with the dishes the restaurant prepared for us. After all, every hour is happy hour in Boracay. Well, that’s what we go by when on the island.

The dish that welcomed us as soon as we reached our table was the Cobb Salad. When you have a salad that has Cajun grilled chicken, smoked salmon, bacon, and blue cheese, you know it’s going to be one helluva salad! And it definitely was.

Their creamy and savory Chorizo and Mushroom Risotto was like a well-seasoned dream.  Amongst the dishes we had the pleasure of enjoying, their Veal Cheeks, and Seafood Platter were one of the reasons why this life is worth living. Our dining experience in Los Indios Bravos deserves a longer airtime so we’ve decided to share it with you soon on a separate article. For the meantime, please take our word when we say that Los Indio Bravos’s Seafood Platter is the best in Boracay.

3. SOLANA AT SHANGRI-LA

In our opinion, Boracay has one of the best sunsets in the Philippines. Every sunset is different— some dramatic, some simple, but always perfect. It’s no wonder we found ourselves in Shangri-La’s Boracay’s Solana happily lounging in their private beachside cabana sipping their fabulous cocktails (our personal favorite was their Lemon Basil Cocktail) while watching the sun set on the horizon.

There is something about sunsets that captivate us. Maybe it’s the thought that we survived another day and that tomorrow is a new day for another fresh start, or maybe it’s the embrace of that peaceful warm last rays of the sun while seeing the light paint the sky with incredible hues. Whatever the reason, the sunset lovers in us were greatly satisfied.

4. CHA CHA’S BEACH CAFE

After savoring the breathtaking sunset, we went back to Coast to have dinner at their restaurant called Cha Cha’s Beach Cafe. Since it was a breezy summer night, we opted to dine at the beach. Coast is a hotel concept of Raintree which makes Cha Cha’s Beach Cafe another one of Raintree’s restaurants. We love their restaurants—Stella, Rocket Room, Kabila, and Chelsea Kitchen amongst the many concepts they have. That’s why when we learned about Coast and Cha Cha’s being part of Raintree, we had full confidence that this trip was going to be awesome.

We started the night with some cocktails and some Cold Spicy Salmon and Tuna Poke Bowl. We’re suckers for good poke bowls and this didn’t disappoint. The freshness of both salmon and tuna were evident which made us thoroughly enjoy the dish. We got excited when we saw that our favorite Winner Winner Fried Chicken, which was our staple in Raintree’s Providore, was on the menu. Of course, we had to get it.

As expected, our dinner was delicious but the 2 standout dishes we had were Cha Cha’s Mixed Plate Grill and Cold Seafood Platter. Nothing beats savoring the taste of the tropical island life with grilled meat and fresh seafood.

5. DOS MESTIZOS

Our first night in Boracay ended on a good note so we brought the good vibes over to Dos Mestizos the following day. One of the oldest restaurants on the island, Dos Mestizos is popular for bringing a little bit of Spain to Boracay.

As soon as we entered the establishment, happy hour instantly started. When your welcome drink is a glass of Sangria, you know you’re going to have an amazing lunch.

Tapas of all shapes and colors started arriving— one after the other, flooding our dinner table. The sights and aroma of Salpicao de Vaca, Jamon Serrano, Gambas Al Ajillo, Queso Manchego, Croquettas de Jamon, Bacalao ala Vizcaina, Tortilla de Patatas, Cochinillo, and Paella Negra were intoxicatingly delicious, enough for us to cheerfully shout “Happy Fiesta!”.

From the feast we ate, their Paella Negra was our top pick.

6. NAMI RESORT

It’s another sunset session on the island and what better location but in Diniwid Beach where Nami Resort is. The name Nami came from the term “namit” which means delicious in the Ilonggo dialect (Hiligaynon). And our experience was delicious indeed— from the view of the ocean, to the view of the sunset, to the food in the restaurant. One of our fondest memories of Nami was riding the semi-open bamboo lift to the restaurant. It gave us a great view of the beach while going up about 7 storeys high from the ocean deck.

After watching the beautiful sunset, it was time to enjoy the beautiful food. By the way, make sure to get the table by the window to fully savor the beach view.

We started our early dinner with a few appetizers— Caprese Salad, Mesclun and Watermelon Salad, and Nami’s bestseller, Mushroom Tarts. We didn’t have any shortages of entrée— Honey Bourbon ChickenPan-Seared Salmon, Breaded Dijon Porkchop, Mixed Seafood Platter. Call us biased but our favorite amongst the list was their Pan-Seared Salmon. Our love of salmon prevailed on this dinner.

The sunset that day was spectacular. More spectacular when taken from way up. We’re so happy that Elei brought his drone with him. It gave us a different perspective of the beach and the sunset. Mother Earth is truly amazing.

7. STEAM PUNK

Have you ever had a pre-dinner before the real dinner? It may sound confusing but that’s exactly what we had on our last night in Boracay. Enter Steam Punk, a local burger joint in the middle of  D’Mall. We’re glad to have tried their sandwiches because everything we had was delicious! We stuffed our faces with their Double BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato) which compromised of layers and layers of apple-wood smoked bacon and English loin bacon in between sugar-glazed donuts. It was the perfect combination of salty and sweet. Had it not been for the other sandwiches we got, we would’ve finished their BLT. We also had their Shrimp Roll which was totally filling.

Steam Punk also serves Boracay’s famous burger, the Chori Burger. This garlic barbeque glazed chorizo topped with whipped cream cheese and crispy fried onions is an island favorite. As sinful as it is, we paired the Chori Burger with a jumbo serving of their Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Milkshake and it was amazing! If you want to seriously stuff your face with meaty goodness, we suggest you get Steam Punk’s Triple X— half kilo Brazilian beef topped with lettuce, tomato, and onions. Pair it with their Caramel Cheesecake Milkshake and we promise it will make your day.

By the end of 2 days, we were happy, full, and already planning a trip back— a longer trip to be exact. This trip got us to know Boracay even more and made us realize that this island is truly breathtaking in different unique ways.

We’re so lucky to have explored the best places Boracay has to offer with the best people!

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Check out Coast on Instagram and on Facebook. Check out their Website too.

Check out Los Indios Bravos on Instagram and on Facebook. Check out their Website too.

Check out Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa on Instagram and on Facebook. Check out their Website too.

Check out Cha Cha’s Beach Cafe on Instagram and on Facebook.

Check out Dos Mestizos on Instagram and on Facebook. Check out their Website too.

Check out Nami Resort and Spa on Instagram and on Facebook. Check out their Website too.

Check out Steam Punk on Instagram and on Facebook. Check out their Website too.

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All images appearing on this website, unless noted otherwise, are the exclusive property of Manila Eat Up. All images are copyrighted © Manila Eat Up.