AN AMERICAN SOCIALITE RENDEZVOUS | SIMPLY J’S RESTAURANT | TRICK TO GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE RANT | REVIEW [PHOTOS] [UPDATED]

Simply J's Restaurant

Simply J’s Restaurant

-          ★★★★

-          ★★★★ (2nd Visit on Jan. 1, 2014)

Themed restaurants around the globe, especially here in Cebu, have been a trend for a couple of years because it sounds exciting to experience another country’s food and ambiance. The need to feel part of something different is enticing to people, especially when budget-wise going to Paris, Greece or America is unattainable.

American country houses consist of anything warm and welcoming yet with lux and glamour narrating a socialite family story living in those walls.

An American socialite rendezvous called Simply J’s restaurant, having an American country house experience is located at Escario St., corner Apitong St., Cebu City that will give you the satisfaction of a U.S.A. feel with random delish offers.

GOING THERE

Going there is just easy since Simply J’s restaurant is located within/along the vicinity of Ayala Centre Mall and the tall buildings around. It’s just also along the street where Parklane and Golden Peak hotels are located. Jeepneys come and go there.

The place is just enough to hold plenty of people, but not too much, therefore, you should make a reservation ahead. (Telephone number at the end of the post)

FOOD

They have true affordable offers, since, I’ve ranted about when a price ranges from P250.00 to P300.00; all of the other offers, for my partner and I, are considered EXPENSIVE. And in this restaurant; you can distinguish the affordable from the expensive ones.

Simply J's Restaurant

Lasagna in Simply J’s Restaurant

Usually, the affordable ones are those dishes that are not complicated to cook like what I’ve ordered which was Lasagna and Caesar’s Salad, and usually the dishes that hits the P300.00 mark are usually beef and all other American style offers.

Simply J's Restaurant

Crispy Pork Belly at Simply J’s Restaurant

But, no need to worry since everything will be worth the pay.

I can really appreciate how expensive the place looks yet how affordable their dishes are; and that’s one of the good ways in saying the quote ‘don’t judge the book by its covers’, since I’ve been to restaurants that looks affordable, but the dishes prices are oh so expensive.

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Caesar’s Salad at Simply J’s Restaurant

But in Simply J’s, everyone can afford.

AMBIANCE and PLACE

The ambiance is PERFECT. The place, as I’ve said, is cozy and looks expensive. It’s a true American Style home with perfect lighting.

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Simply J's Restaurant, panorama

Panorama of the second part of Simply J’s Restaurant

There are three portions of the restaurant (We guessed 3), One in the main entrance that deceivingly looked somewhat Victorian, where the walls are painted white and chandeliers are nonchalantly hanging above the ceiling and some fancy wall accents plus picture frames and not to mention a stairway that my partner guessed, their second floor to the second portion. And the 3rd one on the other side of the room which feels warm due to the yellow lighting that feels more of a dining room rather than an entrance hall.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

(I have a rant about the Trick to Good Customer Service here)

It was all perfect but things got shakey for us when the iced tea of my partner had a huge fly in it and also when the waiter gave us the wrong dessert which we ordered Apple Pie and gave us Brownie Ala Mode.

Simply J's Restaurant

Brownie Ala Mode in Simply J’s Restaurant

One thing I’ve learned about good customer service as my partner told me, he said, ‘The trick to good customer service is turning a bad experience to a good one’. And he was right when he said it. What he meant was that they could’ve given us the Brownie Ala Mode as a complementary instead…

Simply J's Restaurant

Apple Pie with Ice Cream at Simply J’s Restaurant

But they managed to exchange the said drink/dessert which was quick.

 (You should read the rant after)

IN TOTALITY

The place is perfect, the food is perfect, price is good and a little bit careful on customer service then everything will be perfect!

CONTACT (for reservations)

505-8315

Or

Visit their Facebook Page

RATINGS

Lasagna – 9

Caesar’s Salad – 10 (very fresh)

Crispy Pork Belly – 9

Ambiance – 10

Service – 8

Value for money – 8

UPDATE (1/21/14)

We got to take our second shot at Simply J’s on a Sinulog time because it’s not crowded.

Hawaiian Pork Chop

Hawaiian Pork Chop

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs

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TRICK TO GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE

This is a related post to our experience at Simply J’s AND what we’ve noticed about the lack in customer service in most restaurants nowadays. This is me writing but the voice behind this rant goes to my partner.

Don’t get fooled by this category title that talks ‘Good Customer Service’ cuz I added ‘Rant’ to it because before we got there; I’ve had researched about Simply J’s, and usually, I go to Foursquare to check up on the setting, and I read something about bad customer service their having. So basically, this is not about their good customer service but neither about a really terrifying service also.

When we got there, the waiter took us to the table we wanted and gave us really good looking menus and right after 15 minutes or so, our food arrives, just exact for our famined stomachs.

Everything was PERFECT.

Not until we discovered a huge fly in my partner’s Iced Tea. We were shocked by it, but the good waiter then replaced it with a new one so we proceed. Then my partner signaled the waiter for his dessert which was their Apple Pie. But then, the waiter served us something different. It was dark and with ice cream on top. We did not bother asking the waiter because for me, I wasn’t curious enough to know what the offer was and why it was black since I was not enticed to eat the dessert, and my partner thought maybe it was a twist in the dessert or something like that.

Then we got to taste it, and I was in familiar with the taste of chocolate, but did not bother to ask as well. Not until my partner stepped in a conversation telling me that that was a Brownie Ala Mode. A eureka moment came to me, which was totally right all along.

We called the attention of the waiter and told him our plea, and right after, he got hold of the Brownie and took it away in exchange of the real Apple Pie Dessert.

Don’t get me wrong, this is actually NOT a really, really BAD customer service, but the point my partner took me to realizing something correct was when he said to me;

‘The trick to good customer service is turning a bad experience to a good one.’

What my partner meant was that if this was a true restaurant, not a family owned one; they aren’t allowed to eat the mistaken dish given, and so, since they aren’t allowed to indulge one; they might as well offer it as a complimentary dish/dessert to the customers they’ve wronged. They couldn’t just throw it all away like that? And if we two were really having ill manners, we could’ve ranted out our dismay to the waiters or to the manager, but no, we’re not those typical customers. We side with the waiters mostly IF and only if they do their job without giving us an attitude.

To sum it all up, when customers experience a bad experience like giving wrong dishes; they could offer it to the customer instead or we would think they’ll recycle the dish onto the next customer ordering it? Yuck.

NOT BASHING

I’m/We’re not bashing or turning the place down because I’ve entered a category where I talked about bad customer service; no, it sometimes turns out that way when we were there, and no, there are NO perfect service one restaurant can give, and no, I’m not bashing, I’m merely trying to suggest what could the management do to turn the tables proficiently and professionally in cases like that.

And in reality is that: this is true for most restaurants out there.

(cheers to my partner Jamie who gave me a thought to rant about this)

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ART AT THE QUEEN CITY | CEBU TRICK ART MUSEUM | EXPERIENCE [PHOTOS]

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Having a blend of modern/contemporary art plus optical illusion and some masterful poses and angles equals a debonair interactive artwork. And all can be found in the newly opened Cebu Trick Art Museum.

Opened just recently; the site of the said museum is in the 3rd floor of J. Centre Mall, A. S. Fortuna Mandaue City, Cebu, beside N.B.I.

For an affordable price of P 200.00 peso as entrance; you can have 57 interactive experiences with the artworks that pop! Just bring your own camera so you and your friends can have an exciting, fun and entertaining moment while being creative, romantic and comedic, all at the same time.

Cebu Trick Art Museum

Feeding a Zebra at Cebu Trick Art Museum

Why does it look like 3 dimensional and life-like? It’s because the painters of the 57 art pieces rendered their masterpiece carefully into 3D-like effects that tricks they eyes and lens of the camera that results into a deceptive art piece. With a perfect angle, you can have the perfect conjunction of painting and reality.

I also like the fact that people there assists you to take pictures in correct angles.

TIP: Bring a tripod if possible for a more stabilized photo.

Find your angles now and practice different kinds of expressions that complement the artworks!

Cebu Trick Art Museum

Dog catch at Cebu Trick Art Museum

SCHEDULE:

J Centre Mall hours 10:00AM – 9:00PM

CONTACT:

(032) 260 – 0777

Or

Their Facebook Page

RATINGS: 4/5

Cebu Trick Art Museum

Angel wings at Cebu Trick Art Museum

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THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE | MOVIE REVIEW [SPOILER]

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- ★★½

 ‘I died watching the book’s magnificence re-engineered masterfully on the silver screen.’

I’ve been a Hunger Games fan ever since before the movies came out. I’ve read the entire series with no halls barred from day one to day four neglecting my duties as an online teacher that day, and I’ve no regrets, just pure fascination on the entire series.

The Hunger Games movie came out with a blast, injecting a political and showbiz paradigm of a new America called Panem with an awesome movie that garnered 83% fresh in rottentomatoes.com and was followed up by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie this year.

Catching Fire is a follow up movie telling the aftermath series of events right after the first film and how Katniss Everdeen tries to outrun the trauma she’s gotten into and tries to be neutral on the recent spark of revolution she’s given to the citizens of Panem and the desperation of the government to kill off that uprising including Katniss herself.

Why was The Hunger Games book and movie a trend lately? Because of the unique story of a new dystopian tyrant world ruled by one central successful district called Capitol and the rest are slaves or workers for them. And it cannot linger away from most political transgressions in most countries nowadays; only less showbiz killing and showoffs on cam. Also the addition of the effervescent Jennifer Lawrence who’s stunning and down-to-earth celebrity who tries to concisely diminish the usual celebrity ladder to fame which is to look like a skinned doll and try to be delusion in front of the camera: no, JenLaw is not that type, and I can say she is a role model for us human beings who doesn’t need to look perfect in order to please everyone.

Months ago I’ve seen and been impressed by the trailers of the movie and how I was not afraid that it would fail me as a fan and how will it be true to the book. And then I’ve read fantastic reviews from critics all around the world telling how good the movie was… until today.

Here’s what I can say to the movie.

THE MIRAGE

What I love about reading books that’ll be turned into movies is for the reason that I want my imagination to be brought to life; when you read something, you promote yourself to an illusionary world where you are the director and the camera man. When I precisely have a vision on a revolutionary epic story and will be translated to the silver screen; it makes me excited.

But due to the fact that, let’s be honest, an adaptation of a film from a book doesn’t need to be exactly what the book says since the true meaning of adaptation is not a Xerox copy; instead, the entire plot is taken into precautionary re-telling of the tale with small modifications but intends not to destroy the said plot.

But this one, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie is a true manifestation that you could adapt and Xerox at the same time! The movie did not go far away from the book, and still has the essence and contents in it.

The mirage of the events of the story inside my mind happens to look SOMEWHAT exactly in the movie! I have to applaud the director, Francis Lawrence, for doing such an amazing job to stay true to the book. Not all scenes happen to look exactly what I imagined, but close to that of the movie, especially the arena.

THE ACTING

Jennifer Lawrence won a best actress, b*tch. JenLaw is pleasing to me seeing her acting in all the hurtful emotions displaying a traumatized girl was a bravo.

And the rest of the cast were amazing in delivering their characters. I applaud Phillip Seymour Hoffman who played the role of the illusionary antagonist, Plutarch, who, I thought was scary and if I hadn’t read the book, I wouldn’t know that he’s part of the rebellion especially when he speaks with Donald Sutherland who played President Snow creating a nonchalant tension in the way he looks and speaks that displayed arrogance and evil-ish look.

THE DIRECTION AND MUSICAL SCORE

Thankfully, they’ve also changed into a perfect director, Francis Lawrence, who gave out the essence of the book beautifully. It’s one of those action packed books that they didn’t ruin at all. Instead, they magnify every scene that still captures your attention with strong musical score.

OVERALL

In totality, I was beyond amazed by the film and how it was taken from book to the screen with amazement! Not all my favorite books that were brought to the silver screen were this epic. I die watching the book’s magnificence re-engineered masterfully on the silver screen.

CRITIQUE – 4 ½ /5

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[UPDATED] A PARISIAN DELIGHT – LA VIE PARISIENNE | WINE | BAKERY | SOCIALITE JUNCTION [PHOTOS]

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-          ★★★★★

Salutations! Un délice parisien en ville. Perfectionnez pour n’importe qui qui aime tout français. Venez vous joindre à moi.

(Cross fingers that Google Translate didn’t give me wrong translations hihi)

LA VIE PARISIENNE

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Besides Greece being one of the top of the list in my best places I want to go while still living, which the restaurant CYMA-Greek Taverna gave me that glimpse of experience; Paris is still on the pedestal of my dream places I want to go.

Every girl’s dream is Paris… well that includes rainbow people of course!

And Paris doesn’t just collocate with Eiffel Tower, the Louvre or the wonderful top-view scenery; but also the restaurants with pastries and wine!

And if Paris-like experience is what you’re looking for; then La Vie Parisienne is perfect for your taste.

La Vie Parisienne

La Vie Parisienne cork

WHERE?

Located at Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City; beside the Pink House Restaurant which is also Parisian inspired, La Vie Parisienne is a bakery and winery that offers pastry treats and variety of delish wine flavors. The store is carved to look exact like a French winery, especially on the inner part where you can sit down with all the wine on the curve shaped walls that looked really fancy!

La Vie Parisienne, winery, bakery

inside La Vie Parisienne winery

Yet, when my partner and I came there, the outer part of the shop was still renovating, focusing on their wooden floors; but you can see the potential in giving customers the French garden ambiance and giving that socialite junction experience. With the surrounding greenery and night light lanterns; everything must look perfect day and night!

PRICE RANGE

The offers are good taste and affordable! They have their croissants that cost only P25.00 and it really tastes so good for a normal pastry. They also have Macaroons in different colors that are offered in sets. Also their wines that vary from sparkling wines, that costs only P200.00 and above which are good for teens and light drinkers, to the expensive yet rich wines.

La Vie Parisienne

Bread and Croissant in La Vie Parisienne

EXPERIENCE

The experience was lacking because of the obvious renovations in front of us, but the potential when it’s done is what I’m excited about! When it’s done by December 2013, then it’s the perfect place for the perfect mood of Christmas.

La Vie Parisienne, sparkling wine

La Vie Parisienne sparkling wine

Their offers vary from affordable to pricey, where they may imply that everyone can afford.

SCHEDULE

7:00AM – 12:00AM

CONTACT

(032) 260-4388

Or

Visit their Facebook Page

RATING

THE STORE AND THEIR OFFERS – 3 ½

La Vie Parisienne

Vive!

UPDATE (3.3.14)

FrenchPark?

La Vie Parisienne is now a cherry blossom wonderland full of the said trees, only faux, but none-the-less exciting and wonderful. Now, the place which started from the La Maison Rose (The Pink House) is now a French Park, filled with excitement and worldly surprises. There’s also two new treats at the park; World Pizza which offers different kinds of pizzas from 80 countries! Yes, you’ve read it right, 80 countries. And if you read my blog about it, you’ll be excited to try it too. Also there’s an ice cream stand called Healthy Icy that offers different kinds of healthy and natural ice creams that you’ll have the will on your own flavour composition.

See the Photos Below and visit the Parisian Park.

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UPDATE  (10/23/2014)

DOME

I’ve been to La Vie Parisienne once again because they have another upgrade with the place and it’s beyond awesome. The lights are brighter and the design is fashionably Paris. I only wished there was an Eiffel Tower anywhere near. It’s nostalgia. It’s Paris. It’s Instagram-worthy. (Sorry guys for the watermark, I’ve learned my lessons from online plagiarism.)

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Although it’s colorful there, the burger really looks sad for P75.00.

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A CUPCAKEY DOWNTOWN FIND | CAKES CEBU BY ARIADNE | HOMEMADE CUPCAKES [PHOTOS]

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Cakes Cebu by Ariadne Chocolate and Red Velvet Cakes

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True to a fact that on any events, normal cakes are too mainstream and cliché. We always aim for something fancy, cute and fun! A cupcake is the solution for the dry and redundant celebration of yours! And having a muffin touch wouldn’t hurt.

And recently, I bumped with something really worth find, and its Homemade… and anything homemade taste really good for its true personal touch on the product/s. And also since it’s almost Christmas season, this is a perfect treat for you, your friends and your family.

Cakes Cebu by Ariadne

Red Velvet Cupcake by Cakes Cebu by Ariadne

A homemade offer (with no business name yet, I guess) with a Facebook page, which they named Cakes Cebu by Ariadne, has the variety of confectionery choices! From cakes to cupcakes to their OH-SO-DELISH lollies!

Cakes Cebu by Ariadne

Chocochip Cupcake by Cakes Cebu by Ariadne

Since they haven’t put up a store for their business yet; they cater for order basis only.

If you’re asking me about the quality of the cupcakes; it’s stuffed and the frosting tastes very friendly for everyone. I love how it’s not that sweet that gives you the balance.

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Closeup of the Red Velvet Cupcake

Cakes Cebu by Ariadne

Closeup of Chocochip Cupcake by Cakes Cebu by Ariadne

They also cater to customized design cakes, cupcakes and lollies which you can see on their Facebook page, and one below is my favorite. I wonder why it’s close to my heart. *wink

Cakes Cebu by Ariadne

A Customized Cupcake (photo by Cakes Cebu by Ariadne)

PRICE:

Every box is composed of 12 in the price range of P200.00 – P450.00 (usually the Red Velvet/Chocochip Cupcakes), this is actually affordable for the entire box.

CONTACT:

0906-5787670 / 267-3994

or

Visit their Facebook page.

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THE FOUR KINDS OF PEOPLE

In my recent experience, the four kinds of people are the:

1.) Good Samaritan

2.) Opportunist

3.) Ignorant and

4.) Willful Ignorant

Amidst the brimstone of poverty and financial scrutiny; I managed to simply spend my dosh to enjoy all the weekends with my partner; and luckily for me, that sense was reciprocated by him. Although, we both know that upon this splendor, we would radically be poor in the future.

Amidst the brimstone of ravishing crimes and undignified salutatory from the atrocious politicians especially here in the Philippines; I would consider us the many kinds of people who have motivations upon reaching one goal: to have money… huge amount of money.

And amidst the brimstone of Madam Janet Napoles who stole billions of dosh for the sake of nonchalantly live in the world where she and her family will just lie in a cushion made bed in a twenty-star hotel (if that’s possible) and not minding if ‘that’ in the bank has lost thousands just for one glamorous night in luxury!

Here’s my story…

One Saturday evening…

My partner and I were prepared to head to a burger place where the buzz is all about. After two hours of preparing for our date; we then went down the boarding house where he is staying which I barge in on the weekends.

We then waited for a jeepney to take us to that specific place, since our stomachs were already fimished. We even shared laughs on the pavement, while the noise of the passing chariot tries to disturb.

We then saw an upcoming jeepney, with headlights shining viciously, blinding us both. And we waved for it to stop.

My partner and I then were inside the jeepney, and noticed, there were only a few people. While we sat on the further part from the driver; we saw two women across us (they maybe not be related because they were obviously away from each other) and another girl wearing headphones in her ears who sat a feet behind the disabled front seat.

We were all silent, hoping for a pleasant night even when you can see the grim and suffering on the faces of these people.

And then the interesting part came when my partner got hold of my attention to something really valuable, he said, “Hala B, naai nahug nga pitaka!” (Someone dropped their wallet).

I looked at the jeepney floor, and indeed, there was a wallet inches away from the girl with the headphone. I noticed how she was nonchalantly listening to the music. But sense came to us realizing, how come she’s not able to pick up that wallet when it’s just right in front of her?

My partner convinced me that she actually sees it, but did not act about it!

He then told me, “Kwa-a b!” (You get it, B!)

In my heart, I was willing to pick up that wallet, because I know deeply, incorruptible; I’ll be handing it over to the owner, dignified. But I was sitting at the very end of the jeepney while my partner was beside me, but blocks my way to reach that wallet. But I was also in battle of myself that it could be the girls’ wallet. But that doesn’t make sense since it was obviously for men! Also, the jeepney was moving fast. Those things stopped my gut to get it.

Then the jeepney stopped, a guy with a backpack entered and sat behind the girl with the headphones on, and one of the older lady in front of us dropped off.

That stopped my gut again, and the jeepney continued while My partner and I continued to talk about how it came about there and how much worried the owner might be at that very moment.

The battle continues inside me, up until the jeepney again stopped and another lady came in and sat beside my partner.

My partner and I said to each other that it’s better if we got hold of the wallet because it’s safer since we know that we could return it complete to the owner.

Then the guy with a backpack transferred seats, across the girl with headphones on.

I have a gut feel that he already had seen the wallet, and my partner told me that he might get it and not return it. I even saw him took a glimpse of the wallet.

When we gave our fare, that’s been passed by the lady next to my partner and handed it to the guy and the guy then passed it to the driver. He then quickly bent over and, (I was right) got hold of the wallet.

What’s interesting was he kept it in his hands and looked away… still, acting like there’s nothing happened.

My partner and I were babbling about his body language and how it is likely possible that he won’t return it, since we concluded that if he really has good intentions for that wallet; he would’ve scanned it right away to look for the name of the owner OR he could have simply asked the girl in front of him if that’s hers, or ask us if we knew who that wallet was. We could be wrong, but our hunch tells us the other way round.

He kept it in his hands and looked away, maybe trying to avoid eye contact with us.

My partner and I then realized how awful that situation was, and regret was in our guts.

It was like our society where there are people who are blinded and ignorant of the hideous happenings around. Some choose to rather be blind and deaf to exclude themselves from tension, OR some have not yet discovered the true maleficent nature of people and the events but are willing to fight, if given the chance so.

Then there’s the willfully ignorant people, who sees everything that’s been happening around them, how they could less care about listening to people who are willing to fight for what’s right, and press on with what they do for living instead.

And there are these good Samaritans who are willfully willing to help, but gets caught off guard by situations while reaching for the goal of the barrage for equality, peace or simple respect.

Then there are opportunists who are always on the move whenever there’s a loophole they could pass in to. They would neglect values and slumber their souls in figurative squalor while acquiring the plentiful of others. They would rather save thyselves rather have the unspeakable suffering others already are in. They would rather step on other’s heads for them to reach the mountain of fortune.

But then I realized; it all boils back to us…

We could’ve done something more than just looking at that wallet and run for it and willfully return it to the deserved owner whose dead worrying the whereabouts of his possession.

But no, we were just there; feeling regret while ranting about giving the guy the benefit of the doubt that he himself is suffering from financial needs and does the dirty job instead which gives him quick access to gain money… or we were totally wrong. But we know in our guts that we’re not.

I realized, we were not the ‘Good Samaritans’ yet. We could’ve really done something… I personally could’ve done something MORE.

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