Tag Archives: Evia Lifestyle Center

In The Mood Food Crawl at Evia Lifestyle Center

Confession: It’s the day before Valentine’s Day and we have not made any plans. No special menu, no restaurant reservation for dinner, nothing. And our Christmas tree is still up. To say that we are unprepared is the understatement of the century.

I do have an idea of where it would be nice to go for a romantic V-day dinner, though, thanks to the recent In The Mood Food Crawl that Evia Lifestyle Center hosted together with my lovely Mothers Who Brunch friends, Mish and Sab.

This is what it really looks like when the three of us get together. Lots and lots of laugh-til-we-cry moments.

If, like me, you are not ready for Valentine’s, read on! If you just want to discover some awesome new places to eat with your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, family or friends, read on, too!

 

There was only one item on my agenda for today, and that was the #inthemoodfoodcrawl, which my lovely @motherswhobrunch friends hosted with the wonderful people of @evialifestylecenter. My schedule is usually crazy or full or both, but when @mommanmanila and @sinfullysabrina say “Save the date!” I save the date. And it’s always worth it, each and every time. I’m completely stuffed from our eating tour of #evialifestylecenter (we went to 7 different places!!!). Can’t wait to take MrC and the ManChild there to try everything. And I’m in a really great mood from all the chatting and laughing. Plus, my sister who brunches (not yet a mother though) got to come, too! Thanks for having us, Mish and Sab! See you again soon. And Evia, I’ll be back! May mga babalikan pa ako sa My Mother’s Cupboard. Lol! 😚😚😚 #valentinesatevia #motherswhobrunch

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Bright and early on a Tuesday morning, I drove to Evia with my sister, Rocky, in tow. Her plan was just to check out the mall since she’d never been there before. Sab and Mish graciously invited her to join us, though, and of course she said yes. Who says no to brunch anyway? 

There were 7 stops mapped out for our food crawl. 7! That’s a lot of eating. And so, off we were, appetites ready, forks in hand, ready to feast with friends. 

Mm-hmm, I am always in the mood!

First stop: Tigerleaf 

Rocky and I with our friend, Helene

It’s not easy to find great Thai food in Manila. We only got to try two dishes from the Tigerleaf menu, but man oh man were they amazing. My sister and I had more than one serving of the Catfish Salad and Chicken Satay, each. We were both well aware that there were 6 more stops ahead, but the food was so good that we just couldn’t help ourselves!

I love that the Chicken Satay is served over hot coals. Keeps the skewers nice and warm.
Crunchy catfish. Tart green mangoes. Crisp lettuce. And an amazing sweet and salty fish sauce dressing. Oh the joy.

Second stop: Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen

Second stop, and we’re already starting to get full!

I’m no stranger to Mama Lou’s. We’ve eaten at their BF Homes branch many times. I have to say, though, that I was still completely blown away by the spread they prepared for us during the food crawl. Theirs was an Italian antipasto buffet to die for.

Mama Lou’s serves AMAZING pizza!

I particularly loved the Spinach and Honey Goat Cheese with Truffle Pizza. Actually, there was nothing on that table that I didn’t like. If we didn’t have to move on to the next restaurant, I might have just stayed in Mama Lou’s all day. No kidding.

All I want for Valentine’s Day is this spread from Mama Lou’s

Third stop: Merlion’s Cuisine

I thought that was a carved carrot, but it’s actually made of salt!

I confess, Singaporean cuisine isn’t one of my faves. But I did enjoy the Meat Platters and Mango-Sago Pomelo dessert that we got to try at Merlion’s. 

This was really so refreshing

Fourth stop: Mesa

Mesa is love!

While it’s been around for years, I’ve never actually eaten at Mesa before. Now I know that I’ve been missing out. I cannot stop thinking about their Crispchon and the soft homemade malunggay crepe they wrap it in. Then there’s the super fresh shrimp cooked over hot rocks in a clay pot. And sarap! Their kamias shake is a must-try, too!  

You won’t believe how crispy the skin on this little piggy is
Oh my gosh, this needs rice

Fifth stop: Another Story

This salmon was perfectly flakey, and was so yummy paired with the creamy mashed potatoes

I’ve eaten at Another Story before, so I knew to expect good food. We had an Angus Prime Ribeye Steak and a Grilled Salmon, and I loved them both. This is definitely on my list of places to eat with the boys. And I definitely want to order the steak and salmon again. At the same time, maybe. Is that too much? Lol!

I would totally drive to Evia again just for this steak!

Sixth stop: Teppanya

The whole cooking process at Teppanya would be so much fun for kids to watch

I have never had A5 Wagyu before, and let me tell you, I was not prepared for how melt-in-your-mouth it was. So good! It’s the kind of meat that needs barely any seasoning. Or teeth. You can chew on it even if you don’t have teeth. I’m not kidding! The meat paired perfectly well with the giant Hokkaido Salt Crusted Oysters we were served as well. This stop in our food crawl was really such a treat!

Look at all that creamy fat!
Each oyster was literally a mouthful, and so, so delicious

Seventh stop: The Cheesecake Fairy

It was such a treat spending time with Mike and Millie that day!

If there’s one rule in life that I totally live by, it’s always make room for dessert. My blood sugar may not be my friend, but I threw caution to the wind and indulged in the different cheesecakes laid out for us at The Cheesecake Fairy. I expected to like the Oreo one best, but surprise, surprise, it was the Salted Caramel Cheesecake that won my heart. 

I absolutely love anything and everything cookies and cream

Bonus: My Mother’s Cupboard

Before we said our goodbyes, we made one last stop at My Mother’s Cupboard. Oh my goodness, this place is a housewife’s dream come true. (Tip: Guys, it’s a great place to shop for a Valentine’s Day gift for your wifey!)

This is just perfect for those of us who don’t usually go out on Valentine’s Day

In true Mothers Who Brunch fashion, Mish and Sab taught us how to make some magic in the kitchen, which was perfect for Valentine’s Day – A dessert board! I’m definitely excited to try making one at home (coz we all know how much I love sweets) as soon as my blood sugar cooperates. Hopefully, it will be in time for V-day!

Thank you, Mish and Sab, for having us! Rocky and I really had the best time. Til the next one!

 

*All photos without watermark courtesy of Mothers Who Brunch

mrspcuyugan

Dessert Buffet Styling 101

Fact: I’ve never been very good at making things look pretty. I’m simply not wired that way, which is why I became a writer instead. Trust me, I can make anything seem beautiful using the right words, but don’t make me style a flatlay or decorate an area for you. (You will see photo evidence of my design handicap throughout this post.)

This explains why, a year after our big move, our bare white walls are still bare and white. A tour of our house will also reveal that our furniture is a little bit mismatched. That’s mainly because 99% of them are hand-me-downs from different homes, but it’s also because I can’t figure out how to change things up to make them look like they belong together. 

Honestly, I’m afraid to permanently install or remove anything from our house because it just might not work out. And then we’d be stuck with ugliness for a really, really long time. Lol. The struggle is real!


 

Obviously, it’s good for me to attend classes and workshops on styling because I need help. This is why I really made time to be at the Dessert Buffet Styling session by School of Styling Philippines at Evia Lifestyle Center. This particular workshop was perfect for me, actually, because the output is simple, manageable, and not at all permanent. In short, keri ko to.

The super talented Indy Ycasiano was our teacher that day. Here are some styling tips that learned from her at the session. 

#1 Plan ahead

Indy suggests creating a sketch of what you want your table to look like before you get to work. You can also make a mock setup before the day of your event or party so that you can be sure that you have everything you need, and that everything works well together.

#2 Flat is boring. 

Case in point. Flat = boring. This table isn't even fully setup yet, but you can clearly see that everything
Case in point. Flat = boring. This table isn’t even fully setup yet, but you can already see that the elements seem to be falling in line, from the serving dishes to the birthday greeting on the wall. Hindi pa naka-center! Lol. Told you I’m no good at this!

 

To make things look nicer, play with levels when you arrange items on your buffet table. You can do this symmetrically, with a focal point at the center, and other items arranged similarly on either side. Symmetrical doesn’t necessarily mean identical. You can display different items on either side of the focal point, but make sure that they are similar in height so it looks balanced.

Another option is to go asymmetrical, where things are not set up in a mirrored fashion. This is much harder to pull off because you will really need to move things around until everything looks like they are in the right place. Jedi-levels of styling required here, so trust that you won’t see me working on any asymmetrically-styled dessert buffets any time soon. 

Here’s an example what a symmetrically-styled table should look like, as styled by Indy.

 

#3 Don’t bring out all of the desserts that you have, all at once

Just display a few of the your sweet treats on nice plates, trays or jars, then fill in any awkward spaces with decorative items. Things like food labels, objects related to your theme, flowers and party favors are great space-fillers. Don’t go overboard, though! Too many things can make for a cluttered table. And don’t forget to refill your desserts whenever needed.

As you can see, I displayed all of the cupcakes we ordered. I also did not use a plate or tray. Am I hopeless?
As you can see, I displayed all of the cupcakes we ordered. I also did not use any plates or trays. Am I hopeless?

 

#4 Add height

Playing with high and low elements can help make your table look more appealing. You can use various things to add height, such as cake stands, tiered stands, boxes, crates, and even a stack of books. The treats you choose can also give added height. Cake pops, candy canes, push-pops, and basically any treat with a vertical element can work. 

My friend used a cupcake tower to add height to her daughter's birthday dessert buffet.
My friend used a cupcake tower to add height to her daughter’s birthday dessert buffet.

 

#5 Embellish

Here’s where having a whole stock room full of nice props comes in handy. But if you don’t have that magical room filled with plates, bowls, linens and buntings, here are a few basic decorative add-ons that you can use.

  • Fabric – A few yards of nice fabric can be used as a table cloth or runner, and can make a huge difference! See (above) how boring the blue cloth used in our party was? Learn from my mistake, guys.
  • Printables – These are great because you don’t need to store them. You can just design and print things like buntings, signs and labels every time there’s a special occasion. 
  • Buntings and garlands – You can make these using felt balls, pompoms, ribbons, tissue, fabric, small toys, crocheted motifs (which I plan on doing for Christmas!), etc, etc, etc.
  • Backdrop – Adding a backdrop to your dessert buffet helps extend the theme of your party to the table. You can use a plywood panel, canvas, or drapes for this. 
rainbow-brite
If you’re hardcore like my mama, a blank wall can be your canvas, and you can create whatever design you want using Manila paper, art paper, tape and markers. She did just that for her kids on many of our birthdays.

 

#6 Always take a step back to view your table

Walk away and check your work from a distance every once in a while. You’ll get a better perspective of your buffet table this way. Assess then continue your work until you’re done and happy. 

Towards the end of the workshop, attendees were split into two groups and tasked to decorate our own buffet tables. Our group created a glamping-themed buffet. I love our final output. 

mrspcuyugan
You likey?

 

I had so much fun, and I really learned a lot at the workshop. Now I’m excited to start setting up pretty buffet tables at home. But first, I suppose I need to get a buffet table. Lol! Time to go shopping! 

*Follow School of Styling Philippines on Instagram and Facebook to find out when their next sessions will be. Maybe I’ll even see you at one of them!