How do I choose a new restaurant to try?

This blog post was inspired by the upcoming Restaurant Digital Marketing Conference this October 23, 2013 at Enderun Colleges. I love food. I grew up surrounded by food. My grandmother owned a bakery and whenever she wasn’t looking, my cousins and I snitched meringues from the trays and hid them in our hats (sorry Lola!). I will swear up and down that my uncle makes the best batchoy ever. Once my brother and I graduated from college, my mother quit working in Makati and focused on her butterscotch and cookie business. People who taste my mom’s cooking for the first time often ask my Dad how he stays so thin.

butterbeer No promotions necessary for this drink!

As a result of all this, my standards with regards to food are pretty high. Sure, I’ll eat most things but to get me to rave about a certain restaurant, dish, or (gasp!) dessert? You have to be something special. Trying out a new place is always risky, but good research online helps increase the chances of picking a winner. What influences me to give a new restaurant a chance?

1. Friends. In this context, posts and photos from friends. If a friend took the time to actually write and post a blog entry about how much she loved (or hated!) a restaurant, then I take note.

2. Food blogs I like. is personal favorite because of their excellent writing, excellent taste in restaurants, transparency (sponsored posts are clearly labeled as such), and their mouth-watering photos. The photos! The photos! And hey, their food giveaways are pretty sweet too.

3. Good reviews from traditional media outlets. They’re not my primary consideration but they do help in tipping the scales if the first two criteria are met.

4. A well-maintained, attractive, and informative website. Like good reviews from other people, a restaurant’s website isn’t my main influence but it does help. Once I finally decide to try a new place, I’ll Google for the restaurant’s official website and/or social media accounts to get more information – operating hours, branches (if any), sample menu, and the like. If your website doesn’t have these information or is hard to navigate, that’s an automatic point against you.

What doesn’t influence me?
1. Online deals. This may seem counterintuitive but giving a huge discount is unlikely to get me to visit a new place unless I know someone who’s been there and liked it. I do buy deal vouchers but only for established restaurants that I already know that I like.

2. Ads. I find ads annoying *shrug*



Seattle in four photos

I still haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and write but hey, I did manage to find an hour to edit and watermark some of my photos. After spending two days roaming around the downtown area, Seattle may just become my favorite city in the US.

The Space Needle – the ultimate Seattle icon
02 space needle

Pike Place Market – quite possibly my favorite place in the city.
03 pike place market

Ate the best clam chowder in the Pacific Northwest at Pike Place Chowder. So worth the wait!
04 pike place chowder

Learned more about First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest while roaming around the Seattle Art Museum.
05 First Nation art

A full belly and aching feet in Puerto Princesa

The previous post is up here. Yes, it’s taken me this long to write about the second part of my Puerto Princesa adventures. This trip happened last July 8-9. *hangs head in shame*

We woke up at 7am because we needed to get an early start for the day’s activities. The latest we could leave Puerto Princesa was 5pm so that we’d arrive in El Nido at the somewhat reasonable hour of 11pm. Since breakfast wasn’t included in the room rate (boooo), we checked out of the inn and had breakfast in Jollibee.

Hibiscus Garden Inn’s small restaurant. Breakfast ought to be included in the room rate since there’s nowhere else nearby to eat.
All hotels should come with hammocks.

Continue reading “A full belly and aching feet in Puerto Princesa”

Eating my way through Puerto Princesa

I work in El Nido, a municipality on the northwestern side of Palawan. The funny thing is that people are always surprised they I tell them it takes 6 hours non-stop to travel from El Nido to Puerto Princesa by land. First: Puerto Princesa is on the opposite side of Palawan so you travel via old logging roads turned paved roads that hug the side of the mountains. Even though you’re traveling on flat land, the winding and swerving road from El Nido to Puerto Princesa feels worse than Kennon Road going up to Baguio. Second: the road from El Nido to Taytay isn’t paved. During the dry season, it’s dusty as hell. During the wet season (when we traveled), the road is littered with deep potholes that need to be avoided or traversed carefully. I went on my first El Nido-Puerto Princesa road trip last July 8-9 when we went to Puerto to buy stuff for Family Day.

Rural Palawan from the van window
The long road ahead of us
They’re paving the road very, very very slowly.

Continue reading “Eating my way through Puerto Princesa”

Restaurant review: Daniele’s

Daniele's salmone alla griglia - grilled salmon with lemon

I’m a big fan of Bellini’s – an Italian restaurant run by an actual Italian located in Cubao X in Quezon City. The food’s great, the prices are reasonable, and the ambiance is very relaxed. Unfortunately, since I live in the South, it’s not as accessible as I’d like it to be. When I heard that the owner’s son Daniele opened a restaurant along Sucat Road, my first reaction was “Why didn’t anyone tell me earlier?!” All that delicious food just a short jeepney ride away! I finally got to eat there last Sunday with the family. The verdict? The food’s good but somehow not quite there yet.

You’d have trouble finding “Daniele’s” if not for the glaring sign in front. The restaurant has no parking slots of its own (it was Sunday night so we parked in front of the auto shops the next building over) and it has a lapida maker for a next-door neighbor. It looks much better on the inside though, with the same cozy and homey atmosphere as Bellini’s. The place seats 50 people. It was empty when we arrived so we had three waitresses hanging around our table and another waiter by the door, ready to spring into action. It was very disconcerting. LOL Continue reading “Restaurant review: Daniele’s”

Sanya, Hainan, China Day 4 (June 11)

Sanya Bay's beach. Basically like Manila Bay, down to the sewer pipe leading to the water

Day 4 saw the students presenting their research to the panel. OH NOES!!! Gaaah. For the record, I hate public speaking (which really makes me wonder what the heck I’m doing in tourism). I find that I’m a much better writer than I am a speaker. Was fortunate enough to have the errors in my presentation corrected by Dr. Siringan prior to the actual event. Phew! Nothing I could do about the poster though. Since my thesis isn’t finished yet, I just presented the preliminary results. The interesting thing that came out of the data is that my actual results are contradictory to my expected results. While this makes a much more interesting story, this means that I have to do much more reading in order to find an explanation 😐 No photos of me presenting because it was dark up front and there were no nice shots to be had.

After all the presentations, we had dinner in the city proper (another Muslim-friendly restaurant) and finally got to take a (short) tour of the city proper. Continue reading “Sanya, Hainan, China Day 4 (June 11)”