Two Things To Enjoy When You’re Not Traveling: Food & Company (Boqueria, Todd English, Magnum Manila)

enjoy food company travel

On my previous post I wrote an introduction about “Itchinessis Pedis” or ITCHY FEET/ Traveler’s Syndrome. I also included the symptoms and the personal remedy that I take whenever ITCHY FEET strikes.

Personally, when I’m not traveling what makes me sane and well from suffering “Traveler’s Syndrome” are FOOD and a (good) COMPANY. For me, nothing beats going to restaurants and tasting the “world” through the different cuisines that my palate can feast on. This remedy is best when mixed with good company and meaningful conversations.

Today, I’m going to feature two sets of remedy that I took. As I’m fond of trying new places and meeting new people and having worthwhile “dates”, I also like it when I get to talk to people one-on-one. It makes it more special.

So for this kind of “treatments”, the Skinny Pig (that’s me) took a double portion (or make that three) of remedy at Boqueria, Todd English Food Hall and Magnum Manila.

It’s a double portion of grace (you’ll know why), taste, and every thing else as I dated two amazing women. I had some precious time with the two “L’s”, Lalah for a taste of Spain and Liz for a New York sensation.

I can’t say that I’m a food expert (just a food “lo-va”/lover) so this post won’t be about a food or restaurant review.


Third Floor, SM Mega Mall Fashion Hall

Boqueria spanish restaurant interiors

Here’s my first date Lalah at Boqueria Restaurante Chocolateria. I like their interiors and warm lighting. You can also take a peek at the “battle” that’s happening behind their kitchen.

For my first date, I visited the new and shiny FASHION HALL at SM Mega Mall. For me, SM made a great step in adding FASHION HALL to Mega Mall’s antigo buildings A and B. I commend them for such change. Bravo SM!

Besides the “clean” smell, classy look and ambient music that helps in “hypnotizing” consumers in shopping at the variety of retail stores and branded shops, what I look forward to are the different restaurants at the Fashion Hall.

I’m glad to visit one of the many restaurants at Fashion Hall and to have a feel of Spain during my date with Lalah. I had my first ever one-on-one date with her at Boqueria Restaurante and Chocolateria.

Olé and welcome to Spain! Boqueria offers a variety of Spanish staples from different aperitives, tortilla, paellas, ensaladas, sopas, entrantes, and of course churros. Lalah and I had a hard time focusing on what to order since we couldn’t stop chatting from the moment we sat down.

Boqueria Food

Our Food: Paella Vallencia (with mixed seafood and chicken) and Churros with dark chocolate

Finally, after several attempts to order (haha) we decided to have Paella Valencia (mixed seafood and chicken) and Churros with dark chocolate (you have a choice between dark, white or milk chocolate dip).

What I love most whenever I discover restaurants besides the food is its interiors. So while waiting for our dinner and enjoying my conversation with Lalah, my eyes also delighted to see the restaurant’s design and details.

Double Portion of Grace

I can say that my date with Lalah was DIVINE. Lalah and I met through a common friend Yasmin but we only connected recently because of a similar and significant event in our lives. Both of us lost a very special and close person in our hearts, our moms.

The things that we shared, discovered, and learned from each other made me realize the double portion of grace that was so apparent in our season. We talked about life, death, mourning, and the hope that comes from having the faith in Jesus despite the loss, pain, and heartache. God is still faithful to us.

In between our conversations, our dinner arrived. The Paella Valenciana was perfect for two. It was nice and “meaty” with just the right amount of chicken and seafood good for splitting. Then came the star of our dinner “The” Churros, which we enjoyed. We even asked for another serving of dark chocolate dip (which didn’t have the same consistency as the first but it was still good). The Churros was the perfect sweet ending to our first date.

Lalah is such a fine single woman. On our next date, I hope to hear some news about her love life too. I think she deserves to meet someone special soon. 😉 I wonder where our itchy feet will take us next.


Fifth Floor, Sky Park at SM Aura Premier

Todd English Interior SM Aura

First Stop: Todd English. My outfit even matched the wall at the pasta section. :)

In a family where a female species is dominated by a number of male hormones, one needs to escape such environment from time to time. So what can a female do? Escape with another estrogen-filled species.

I’m so blessed to have a sister-in-law. When my mom passed away last November 2012 that’s when I appreciate having Liz (my sister-in-law) more. Besides having the blessing to have another female species in the family, Liz is also a good cook so I know that she’s one of the perfect dates to be with to explore new restaurants.

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz since Todd English arrived in Manila. Sounds like a celebrity to me. Well, he really is a celebrity chef. So just by the sound of its name Todd English Food Hall Manila, it vibrated posh and cost to my ears. Sounds like an expensive restaurant. But to my surprise, it wasn’t that bad at all. We definitely got what we paid for.

One delish Saturday, Liz and I decided to spend some time together at SM Aura while the men in our family had their own thing. She’s been planning to visit Todd English Food Hall for quite some time and finally we were able to try it! (Thank God she made me accompany her. Haha.)

For us to get a decent table and preferred space at Todd English, we strategized. We decided to have an early dinner at 5pm since we heard how this special Food Hall gets easily packed.

Todd English Food pasta pizza burger

What we ordered: Veal Pasta, Classic Pizza, Food Hall Burger

For early dinner, we ordered Veal Pasta, Classic Pizza and Food Hall Burger (no, we’re not that hungry). We decided to save their OMG Chocolate Cake for dessert next time since we had other dessert plans that evening.

I love love love their food and of course my date with my sister-in-law. It’s really different when the food is made fresh and prepared with special TLC. Our server was very accommodating and patient too (especially in answering all our questions).

Our lady server introduced what the Food Hall was all about, their best sellers, and even how they prepare and cook their food. I learned a new culinary word from her too “sous vide” |soōz ˈvēd|, which involves partially cooking their food then followed by vacuum sealing and chilling them (if I remember it well, this is what they do to their steaks/ burger patties).

“Sandwiched” with conversations with my sister-in-law, we devoured Todd English’s delicious and freshly made Veal Pasta and Classic Pizza. Then as if heavens opened and “there was light” when the Food Hall Burger finally arrived. It was ALL good and worth the wait!

I would love to go back to Todd English and maybe experience another “OMG” culinary episode whilst enjoying the walk to their different food sections, people watching and interior gazing.

(*Todd English Food Hall can also hold a group of 15 pax at their function room for P1,500 each for a set menu.)


Fifth Floor, Sky Park at SM Aura Premier

magnum cafe ice cream bar

Make Your Own Magnum Dessert Bar

For dessert, we visited Magnum Manila to try their à la carte desserts. Unfortunately, the restaurant was full. So we just tried their “Make Your Own Magnum” Dessert Bar. And we definitely had the simple pleasure of making our own Magnum ice cream.

Magnum Ice Cream Bar


At first, I was a bit confused on what to get as my sister-in-law Liz and I started to queue. There were so many choices and combinations to make for toppings! But when it was my time to pick, I just made it simple. I want dark chocolate, more chocolate, and well some sea salt and a bit of color please. I forgot the other toppings that I chose but I liked how my Magnum bar tasted.

With drooping ice cream, chocolate and toppings, my Magnum ice cream made me enjoy being a kid again (even just for awhile). Liz and I also enjoyed viewing some art installations (made of used Magnum ice cream sticks) up close while finishing our ice creams.

Liz and I had a full day until the mall closed. I’m grateful and blessed to have a number of inspiring women around me.

These are just some of my remedies from “Itchinessis Pedis”. Can you recommend any good (old and new) restaurants that I should try for my next treatment? :)

*All restaurant photos here were captured using my dates’ iPhones. :)



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